The 2009 Charles Homer Haskins Prize Lecture
William Labov, professor of linguistics and director of the Linguistics Laboratory, University of Pennsylvania, received his B.A from Harvard University (1948) and his Ph.D. from Columbia University (1964). His research focuses on the social stratification of language and the forces governing linguistic change in progress.
Major studies include The Social Stratification of English in New York City (1966), Sociolinguistic Patterns (1972), Language in the Inner City (1972) and Principles of Linguistic Change (1994, 2000). With S. Ash and C. Boberg, he published the Atlas of North American English in 2006. Since 1997, he is a senior author of Houghton-Mifflin’s Portals, an intervention program for raising reading levels in low-income schools. Labov is co-editor of Language Variation and Change, served as president of the Linguistic Society of America (1979), and is a member the National Academy of Sciences.